Value of BDAG/HALOT for non-Greek/Hebrew trained User

Page 1 of 1 (19 items)
This post has 18 Replies | 1 Follower

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jun 29 2019 9:53 AM

I'm a layperson with no Greek or Hebrew training, so in the past I haven't seriously considered adding BDAG/HALOT to my library.  With the current 30% off sale, I'm now considering it.

I understand these two resources are considered to be among the best for word studies for those with training in the original languages.  But I would appreciate hearing opinions on the value these resources might have to someone without the language training.

If you have language training, please try to imagine how useful these resources would be to you if you didn't have that training.  If you don't have language training but own and use these resources, I'd be interested in how useful and helpful you've found them to be.

NOTE:  As someone without original language training, I suppose an additional factor regarding the value of adding BDAG/HALOT to my library, would be to consider the lexicons I already own.  I've included two screen shots below showing what I currently have. 

Posts 2335
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 10:26 AM

Rick Ausdahl:

I'm a layperson with no Greek or Hebrew training, so in the past I haven't seriously considered adding BDAG/HALOT to my library.  With the current 30% off sale, I'm now considering it.

I understand these two resources are considered to be among the best for word studies for those with training in the original languages.  But I would appreciate hearing opinions on the value these resources might have to someone without the language training.

If you have language training, please try to imagine how useful these resources would be to you if you didn't have that training.  If you don't have language training but own and use these resources, I'd be interested in how useful and helpful you've found them to be.  

BDAG definitely HALOT maybe. I too am a layperson, however I am a nerd and prize scholarly information to support my faith. My advice is to know yourself. If you have the itch of a scholar then you will find BDAG and maybe HALOT useful (I use Enhanced BDB for Hebrew more often). But  if you don't need to wrestle with issues of the original languages, avoid these expensive resources. 

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

Posts 7
Dr James Sanders | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 10:39 AM

Hi Rick,

You may want to take at look at

Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Language with Semantic Domain (Hebrew Old Testament) DBL.

I believe Swanson also has a similar dictionary on Greek, but have not yet used the Greek edition. 

Certainly, BDAG/HALOT is something you may want to consider as well, but Swanson I have used extensively.

If I may add a disclaimer: I am a professor with a Masters in Linguistics and a Doctorate in Rhetoric, but let me hasten to add,

should you go with BDAG/HALOT and use a reverse lexicon with the Logos Bible Word Study and lemma, I think you would be fine, but my

recommendation is Swanson. He is spot on with his semantic comments (at least in Hebrew).  The layout is good with bold type; the more scholarly

BDAG/HALOT will be rather tedious and could be a bit overwhelming. Why not go to a local library at a university and review a printed copy of

BDAG or HALOT for yourself?

Such are my personal thoughts.  Good luck on your studies. ( Let me see if I can add a couple attachments to illustrate.  Maybe this will work, maybe not, but let's give it a try.  The notes on 2 Samuel 13:12 will reflect Swanson.)  This workbook will be used for a class here at church, and is not intended for commercial use;  Indeed, I still need to do a lot of editing, but here it is, such as it is.)

Blessings,

Dr. Jim

0284.2 Samuel workbook.pdf

8875.2 Samuel workbook37.pdf

Posts 887
Brother Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 7:47 PM

I bought them a couple of years ago because the hype surrounding them (especially BDAG) was so overwhelmingly positive.  I don't exactly regret buying them.... because they are useful to a degree.... but not so compelling that I'd buy again knowing then what I have experienced since the purchase.

"I read dead people..."

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 9:17 PM

Beloved:

Rick Ausdahl:

I'm a layperson with no Greek or Hebrew training, so in the past I haven't seriously considered adding BDAG/HALOT to my library.  With the current 30% off sale, I'm now considering it.

I understand these two resources are considered to be among the best for word studies for those with training in the original languages.  But I would appreciate hearing opinions on the value these resources might have to someone without the language training.

If you have language training, please try to imagine how useful these resources would be to you if you didn't have that training.  If you don't have language training but own and use these resources, I'd be interested in how useful and helpful you've found them to be.  

BDAG definitely HALOT maybe. I too am a layperson, however I am a nerd and prize scholarly information to support my faith. My advice is to know yourself. If you have the itch of a scholar then you will find BDAG and maybe HALOT useful (I use Enhanced BDB for Hebrew more often). But  if you don't need to wrestle with issues of the original languages, avoid these expensive resources. 

Hi, Beloved!  I feel I have a lot in common with you.  I can't say I have a need to wrestle with issues of the original languages, but I do have a strong desire to have solid, scholarly resources to support and grow my faith.  I remember the immediate kinship I felt with Anselm when I first heard his motto "Faith seeking understanding".  That described how I felt "to a T".  So therein lies my interest in BDAG/HALOT.

HOWEVER, I also try to be a good steward with my financial resources.  In light of the resources I already have, I would seriously consider BDAG/HALOT if they are likely to add much value to and above what I can glean from the other lexical resources I already have.  Because I'm a layperson, it doesn't bother me to not have BDAG/HALOT, if most of the time the resources I already own, combined with the Word Study Guide feature in Logos, would lead me to the same (or similar) conclusions regarding the word meanings in scripture as I'd find in BDAG/HALOT.  Actually, I should amend that last statement to read I'd be fine not having BDAG/HALOT if the word meanings/interpretations available in the resources I currently own would typically be in line with those of a reasonable number of respected scholars and linguists. 

So that's where I'm situated.  Need?  No.  Interested in?  Yes.  Just not sure how often they would add enough value when doing word studies to lead me to conclusions much different than what I can arrive at with my current resources.

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 9:36 PM

Dr James Sanders:

Hi Rick,

You may want to take at look at

Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Language with Semantic Domain (Hebrew Old Testament) DBL.

I believe Swanson also has a similar dictionary on Greek, but have not yet used the Greek edition. 

Certainly, BDAG/HALOT is something you may want to consider as well, but Swanson I have used extensively.

If I may add a disclaimer: I am a professor with a Masters in Linguistics and a Doctorate in Rhetoric, but let me hasten to add,

should you go with BDAG/HALOT and use a reverse lexicon with the Logos Bible Word Study and lemma, I think you would be fine, but my

recommendation is Swanson. He is spot on with his semantic comments (at least in Hebrew).  The layout is good with bold type; the more scholarly

BDAG/HALOT will be rather tedious and could be a bit overwhelming. Why not go to a local library at a university and review a printed copy of

BDAG or HALOT for yourself?

Such are my personal thoughts.  Good luck on your studies. ( Let me see if I can add a couple attachments to illustrate.  Maybe this will work, maybe not, but let's give it a try.  The notes on 2 Samuel 13:12 will reflect Swanson.)  This workbook will be used for a class here at church, and is not intended for commercial use;  Indeed, I still need to do a lot of editing, but here it is, such as it is.)

Blessings,

Dr. Jim

0284.2 Samuel workbook.pdf

8875.2 Samuel workbook37.pdf

Thank you, James!  I do have Swanson's Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek dictionaries, so it's nice to know you find the Hebrew dictionary trustworthy.  I am inclined to think that when used in Logos, I could get some benefit from BDAG/HALOT without knowing the original languages.  But I'm not sure how much added value they would typically provide over the combined lexical resources I currently own.

If there's a strong chance they will cause me to "reconsider" the conclusions I'm likely to reach if limited to the resources I currently own, I would consider the value they add to be worth the purchase.  But... if in most cases they would take me down the same/similar path as my current resources, I would probably regret the purchase. 

I would also like to say that I found the workbook PDFs you sent helpful and engaging.  I think I would enjoy and benefit from sitting in a class that used handouts in that format.

Posts 70
Bryce Hufford | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 9:47 PM

I am in a very similar situation.  I am a lay person who doesn’t intend to learn Greek or Hebrew.  I have had BDAG/HALOT on my wish list for over a year waiting to get them on sale.  I pulled the trigger on them a few days ago.  My initial impression is that I think BDAG will be a good resource for me, but I don’t think I will get as much use with HALOT.  

I happen to be a Logos NOW subscriber and for one of my free course rentals, I am working through LA161 - Learning to Use Biblical Greek with Logos 6. https://www.logos.com/product/130790/mobile-ed-la161-learn-to-use-biblical-greek-with-logos-6  Here is part of the description: Similar to a seminary’s first year of Greek courses, you’ll get a firm foundation in Greek grammar. Each concept is thoroughly explained with fresh examples. But instead of using memorization, Cisneros takes a tools-based approach, showing you how to use Logos 6 to identify those grammatical concepts in the biblical text.

One of the videos in this course is specifically on how to use BDAG.  The course is expensive, but it really gets to the heart of your question on how to use original language tools and resources for deeper study without necessarily learning the original languages.  At the end of the day is BDAG  or HALOT essential for me given my other resources (which are similar to yours)?  I would say no, not essential.  However, they are resources that are heavily tagged and referenced by other resources in our libraries.  Hope that helps.

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 9:48 PM

Brother Mark:

I bought them a couple of years ago because the hype surrounding them (especially BDAG) was so overwhelmingly positive.  I don't exactly regret buying them.... because they are useful to a degree.... but not so compelling that I'd buy again knowing then what I have experienced since the purchase.

Thank you, Mark.  The scenario you describe is precisely what I'm grappling with.  If I make the purchase, I'm hoping that a few years down the road I'll be able to say I got enough benefit from them to have been worth the investment.  Hmmm... I wonder if there's much chance Faithlife will up their return policy from 30 days to 3 years.  Smile 

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 10:01 PM

Bryce Hufford:

I am in a very similar situation.  I am a lay person who doesn’t intend to learn Greek or Hebrew.  I have had BDAG/HALOT on my wish list for over a year waiting to get them on sale.  I pulled the trigger on them a few days ago.  My initial impression is that I think BDAG will be a good resource for me, but I don’t think I will get as much use with HALOT.  

I happen to be a Logos NOW subscriber and for one of my free course rentals, I am working through LA161 - Learning to Use Biblical Greek with Logos 6. https://www.logos.com/product/130790/mobile-ed-la161-learn-to-use-biblical-greek-with-logos-6  Here is part of the description: Similar to a seminary’s first year of Greek courses, you’ll get a firm foundation in Greek grammar. Each concept is thoroughly explained with fresh examples. But instead of using memorization, Cisneros takes a tools-based approach, showing you how to use Logos 6 to identify those grammatical concepts in the biblical text.

One of the videos in this course is specifically on how to use BDAG.  The course is expensive, but it really gets to the heart of your question on how to use original language tools and resources for deeper study without necessarily learning the original languages.  At the end of the day is BDAG  or HALOT essential for me given my other resources (which are similar to yours)?  I would say no, not essential.  However, they are resources that are heavily tagged and referenced by other resources in our libraries.  Hope that helps.

Bryce, thank you for the additional perspective.  I hadn't thought about it much from the perspective of tags and references.  I'm not sure how often the tagging would lead me to different conclusions than I'd reach with my other resources, but I suppose that is a valid consideration.  Like you, I'm leaning toward feeling I probably won't be able to call BDAG/HALOT essential resources, but if they are heavily tagged and referenced by other resources, I suppose that might make doing word studies seem to flow more seamlessly and feel more rewarding.

What to do... what to do?  Smile 

Posts 264
Puddin’ | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 29 2019 11:56 PM

Rick—just a few points below:

Personally, like yourself, I had a huge original languages library prior to acquiring BDAG & HALOT.  I acquired both of these prior to taking Hebrew & Greek because when it comes to serious exegetical interpretation these are the standard authorities for biblical languages.  Indeed, I rarely read a commentary, paper, or translation footnotes that doesn’t reference these works.  And, I wanted the absolute best!

I‘m also on Biblical Hebrew & Greek forums where I see these referenced all the time.  They, along w. NIDOTTE & NIDNTTE, are simply the standards which always garner attention when marshaled. 

However, a word of caution that I learned the hard way:  It’s imperative to read these works very carefully to see how they apply meaning to whatever terms you may be analyzing contra just selecting the entire range of meanings.  It’s very easy to overlook a semicolon, for example, and misread & hence misapply any given term.  As always w. linguistics, context is king. 

I was like you for many years until I finally forced myself to actually take original language courses—and I’ve still got a longgg way to go (not “humble-bragging”....I really do😊!).  In sum, I think you will enjoy these resources should you decide to pull the trigger.  

Just my 2 cents.

Posts 4772
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 2:38 AM

Dr James Sanders:

Hi Rick,

You may want to take at look at

Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Language with Semantic Domain (Hebrew Old Testament) DBL.

I believe Swanson also has a similar dictionary on Greek, but have not yet used the Greek edition.

This is the resource I was going to promote. I own BDAG & HALOT, but I don't refer to them regularly. I spend a lot of time working with Hebrew, and I personally find HALOT to be heavily weighted down with superfluous bloat. I find that 50-80% (or more) of every entry is a glut of references to German resources that seem like they would be unhelpful even if I could read German.

My first tier Hebrew resources are Strong's, TWOT, and DBL-H. My first tier Greek resources are Strong's, Zodhiates' CWSD-NT, and DBL-G. If I'm doing a deep dive on a particular word or word group, I will look at BDAG & HALOT, and every once in a while, when I do, I may find something of value that I didn't find elsewhere, but that's pretty rare.

To be clear, I do perceive a need for having both resources, but that need has more to do with other people's perceptions than they do my own. If you are doing your own study and have limited resources, I think you can do without them. If you simply want them and have the funds, do it. I've had them both for over a decade and I really doubt that I've gotten my money's worth out of them...whatever that entails. But I have quoted from both on occasion in my own writing.

Also, I would suggest (if you don't have them already) that you get TDOT & TDNT before getting BDAG & HALOT.

Posts 758
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 11:30 AM

Since this thread is already open, I would like someone to explain to me the basic usage case for resources such as HALOT and BDAG.  Do people leave a panel open with them synchronized to your Bible or do you call them up using a particular tool?

I am in a position similar to Rick's.  I am a lay person.  I have a rudimentary understanding of Greek, but I'm probably not inclined to go all in on Greek study. In my case, I will be retiring in the next 24 months and I want to make sure my library is in good shape.

I already have the Swanson resources. Based on this thread, I am almost willing to pick up BDAG on this sale.  My son said it was highly used in seminary, and that was with paper books.

Posts 10223
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 12:16 PM

David A Egolf:

Since this thread is already open, I would like someone to explain to me the basic usage case for resources such as HALOT and BDAG.  Do people leave a panel open with them synchronized to your Bible or do you call them up using a particular tool?

I am in a position similar to Rick's.  I am a lay person.  I have a rudimentary understanding of Greek, but I'm probably not inclined to go all in on Greek study. In my case, I will be retiring in the next 24 months and I want to make sure my library is in good shape.

I already have the Swanson resources. Based on this thread, I am almost willing to pick up BDAG on this sale.  My son said it was highly used in seminary, and that was with paper books.

I'm a right-clicker. Every now and then someone will discuss a particular lemma, but even then, a right-click does the dirty deed (look-up).

Everyone decides for themselves. I'm a Gesenius/MM lady (H/G). Then when the going gets rough, TDOT/TLNT.


Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 2:17 PM

David Paul:

Dr James Sanders:

Hi Rick,

You may want to take at look at

Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Language with Semantic Domain (Hebrew Old Testament) DBL.

I believe Swanson also has a similar dictionary on Greek, but have not yet used the Greek edition.

This is the resource I was going to promote. I own BDAG & HALOT, but I don't refer to them regularly. I spend a lot of time working with Hebrew, and I personally find HALOT to be heavily weighted down with superfluous bloat. I find that 50-80% (or more) of every entry is a glut of references to German resources that seem like they would be unhelpful even if I could read German.

My first tier Hebrew resources are Strong's, TWOT, and DBL-H. My first tier Greek resources are Strong's, Zodhiates' CWSD-NT, and DBL-G. If I'm doing a deep dive on a particular word or word group, I will look at BDAG & HALOT, and every once in a while, when I do, I may find something of value that I didn't find elsewhere, but that's pretty rare.

To be clear, I do perceive a need for having both resources, but that need has more to do with other people's perceptions than they do my own. If you are doing your own study and have limited resources, I think you can do without them. If you simply want them and have the funds, do it. I've had them both for over a decade and I really doubt that I've gotten my money's worth out of them...whatever that entails. But I have quoted from both on occasion in my own writing.

Also, I would suggest (if you don't have them already) that you get TDOT & TDNT before getting BDAG & HALOT.

David, thank you for the thoughts and suggestions.  I'm relatively pleased to see I have all of your first tier recommendations except Zodhiates' CWSD-NT.  But it doesn't look like Faithlife offers that resource, so I assume you have it in paper or with a different Bible app.

I have TDNT and TDNTA and like them, so took a quick look at TDOT.  But I almost choked at the $700 price tag.  Even with 30% off, it's priced higher than I can justify for my use as a layperson.  I'll put it on my wish list and watch for an amazing sale. Smile

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 2:29 PM

I want to thank everyone who has shared their thoughts and insights.  It truly is helpful.  Based on the comments posted here as well as those in some other threads, I'm leaning toward getting BDAG.  I'm not so sure about HALOT.  With HALOT, some people seem to benefit from background articles it provides, but there seems to be less consensus regarding the day-to-day benefit when doing basic, high-level word study.  Guess I'll have to dig a little deeper before deciding on HALOT.

Thanks again for all the great feedback! Big Smile

Posts 2335
Beloved | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 2:47 PM

Rick Ausdahl:
took a quick look at TDOT.  But I almost choked at the $700 price tag.  Even with 30% off, it's priced higher than I can justify for my use as a layperson.

I love TDOT. I think the best way to acquire it is to buy a Portfolio base package it is in. For Greek besides BDAG I would also give Louw-Nida a look.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

Posts 4772
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jun 30 2019 2:55 PM

Rick Ausdahl:
I have all of your first tier recommendations except Zodhiates' CWSD-NT.  But it doesn't look like Faithlife offers that resource, so I assume you have it in paper or with a different Bible app.

I bought it back in the Libronix days...it was part of the AMG Essentials package. That is still available on Amazon, but you need to call Customer Service first to see if there is any possible way of getting that resource unlocked if you purchase the disk. The original unlocking procedure is no longer viable since L3 was deprecated and the servers disbanded. Maybe (but maybe not), if you send them the physical disk they will unlock those resources for you. In my opinion, I think they should, but I don't work for FL.

Another possible option is trying to buy it from someone who already owns it. In that case, you just pay the fee for license transfer. There is a Facebook page for "used" Logos resources; you might find someone who will part with it. Highly recommended. Don't know why it isn't currently available. I do remember a thread that discussed AMG and certain issues with continuing availability. For whatever reason, the Complete Old Testament Dictionary (counterpart to the CNTD by Zodhiates) is still available. I have it, but it isn't nearly as special as the NT one (Zodhiates was Greek and provides bountiful insight to nearly every entry)...though like BDAG & HALOT, I have on rare occasion found something useful in the OT version that wasn't present in other resources. You get both in the Essentials package.

Posts 1399
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 6 2019 7:41 AM

Well... I took the plunge on July 1st, and purchased both BDAG and HALOT.  Since then, I've been doing some word studies to see what these two resources would add to my word-study "take-aways", above what I could get from the other lexical resources I already owned as listed in my original post.

So far, neither resource has added any new insight.  I.e. for each word study, I used the lexical resources I had prior to getting BDAG/HALOT, to see what my take-away consisted of.  Then I used BDAG and/or HALOT to see if they provided any new insights or surprises that I would have missed without them.  Nothing so far.

For the study of theologically important words/concepts, I plan to watch for a good sale and add NIDNTTE and NIDOTTE to my library.  I'll also watch for a good sale on TDOT (or a good base package deal that includes it).  At that point, for words that are theologically important, my library will include TDOT, TDNT, TDNTA, NIDNTTE, and NIDOTTE.  For words that are not theologically important, I think the other lexical resources I already own will be sufficient.

So... my current plan is to return BDAG/HALOT on Monday.  But before doing that, I want to check one last time to see if anyone can offer a suggestion as to why/how this layperson who has no original language training might still benefit from BDAG/HALOT.  Am I missing something?

Posts 4772
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 6 2019 5:15 PM

Rick Ausdahl:
Am I missing something?

No. Like I said, HALOT is supremely overrated, and BDAG is somewhat less so. Not saying you can't get use/value out of them...just probably not enough to justify the cost, based on your own depiction of what you are doing.

Page 1 of 1 (19 items) | RSS